Thursday, April 27, 2017

No Utopia!

Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute details the misery and waste spawned by "The Great War":

A century ago Congress declared war on Imperial Germany. It was a bizarre decision: the secure New World voluntarily joined the Old World slaughterhouse, consigning more than 117,000 Americans to death for no intelligible reason.

The chief outcome of the war was to sweep away several reasonably benign if imperfect “ancien regimes” while loosing various totalitarian bacilli. All too naturally, even, seemingly, inevitably, emerged communism, followed by fascism and Nazism. The so-called Great War’s unfinished business was finally settled only in World War II, after consuming as many as 80 million additional lives.
The entire article is worth reading. Woodrow Wilson convinced Americans to export "democracy" to tottering European autocracies, but that wasn't what we got. The article's underlying premise is that the quest for perfection usually results not in utopia, but unnecessary human and economic loss.

Of course, we still haven't learned our lesson. The brainless and disastrous toppling of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi did not unleash liberty; instead, those "regime change" interventions created ISIS and Europe's ongoing migrant problem -- a problem that will soon be ours, too.

That unlearned lesson doesn't just apply to foreign policy. Look at the actual results created by school integration. We abandoned an imperfect but functioning educational system and created the Performance Gap. Billions have been squandered trying to erase that gap, and we are nowhere close to succeeding decades later. I could give countless other domestic policy examples: No Child Left Behind. AFDC. Section 8. All have been expensive disasters.

The notion that we can force people into paradise is alien to the true conservative. As Richard Weaver observed, "The Southerner accepts the irremediability of a certain amount of evil and tries to fence it around instead of trying to stamp it out and thereby spreading it. His is a classical acknowledgment of tragedy and of the limits of power." Weaver was right. It's time we learned a little intellectual humility.


roho said...

Anytime you here the word "AMERICA'S VITAL INTERESTS" you should run for your life!

Like when Mitt Romney said that his 5 sons were serving their country by trying to get him elected?

I like Trump, but assume that his boys are also serving their country by serving him?

No, i'm now an Anti War person.........My family will not be fighting for Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

Your last paragraph: you are correct, and Weaver was correct, but as New Englander who hears the nonsense daily don't expect it to happen any time soon.

Weaver said...

Great post! Yes, there is no utopia.

Weaver said...

Btw, Libya now has public slavery. Google it. Shocking.

Anonymous said...

Limits? What limits?

We're the indispensable nation, don't you know!

David Smith